September 24, 2013 - Typhoon Usagi (17W) off the Philippines

Typhoon Usagi (17W) off the Philippines

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA's Terra satellite captured an amazing image of Typhoon Usagi on September 19 at 0215 UTC (10:15 a.m.) spinning in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. The image showed spiraling bands of thunderstorms wrapping into the well-developed center of circulation and a clear eye measuring about 20 miles across. The bands of thunderstorms extended almost 345 miles (555 km) to the north and about 276.2 m (444 km) to the south.

At 0900 UTC (5 a.m. EDT) on that same day, just three days after the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) first reported the system as a tropical depression on September 16, Usagi's powerful maximum sustained winds had to exploded to 138 mph (222 km/h), making it a Category 4 hurricane/typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson scale. At that time, Typhoon Usagi was centered near 17.9 north and 127.6 east, about 442 nautical miles/50.6 miles/818.6 km east-northeast of Manila, Philippines.

Usagi, which was the strongest storm to form in the Northwest Pacific this year, weakened before making landfall near the city of Shanwei (150 km or 94 mi northeast of Hong Kong) in the Chinese province of Guangdong at 6 p.m. local time on September 22. Severe Typhoon Usagi had 10-minute sustained winds of 97 mph (157 km/h), making it a Category 2 typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Chinaís National Meteorological Center issued its highest alert, and evacuated at least 80,000 people in the stormís path in the days prior to landfall.

According to several international news reports, Usagi killed at least eight people in the Philippines and at least 25 in southern China. More than 370 flights were canceled, power lines were blown down, and severe flooding occurred in the region. There were reports of cars being blown off roads, and more than 370 flights were cancelled.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 9/19/2013
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC